He came to widespread public attention via his co-founding of the group King Crimson in 1969, continuing to record and perform with the group up to and including its most recent US tour in 2008. But band membership has always represented just one aspect of his music. His work as a record producer ranges from free jazz with Keith Tippett’s Centipede to Peter Gabriel’s unique take on rock music, from New York singer-songwriter trio The Roches to solo piano recordings of the music of G.I. Gurdjieff by pianist Elan Sicroff.
He has featured as lead/guest guitarist on numerous recordings including those of Blondie, Talking Heads, Nick Cave’s Grinderman project and two of David Bowie’s most highly regarded albums – Heroes and Scary Monsters. He has worked with hundreds of guitarists in the acoustic setting of his signature Guitar Craft courses, performances and recordings. He has collaborated on tours and recordings with a number of musicians including David Sylvian, Andy Summers, Theo Travis and Brian Eno. His early 1970s recordings with Eno are regarded as seminal albums in the evolution of contemporary electronic music.
From the late 1970s Fripp, using electric guitar looped via reel to reel tape recorders, performed solo concerts under the name of Frippertronics in a variety of venues, from pizza parlours to concert halls and exhibition spaces. When the tape recorders and early delay/reverb systems gave way to digital devices in the early 1990s, the name also evolved to Soundscapes. The latter, often recorded in church settings, have been featured in a variety of solo, duo and group settings up to and including live performances with saxophonist and flautist Theo Travis in 2009 and the 2010 studio album with Jakko Jakszyk and Mel Collins. A recording of orchestral arrangements of Soundscapes “The Wine of Silence” has just been issued.
The London-based flautist, saxophonist and composer Theo Travis has made a name for himself internationally in the worlds of jazz, progressive and experimental music featuring on over 100 albums. Born in Birmingham, Theo studied classical music at the University of Manchester where he graduated with honours. He has released 10 solo albums, tours regularly with his own jazz quartet and has appeared at Ronnie Scott’s Club, London over 75 times. He also composes and records with the experimental ambient band Cipher who have undertaken a number of scoring and recording projects for classic silent films which have been toured in performance accompanying screenings of the films to great acclaim. Theo has also been a regular member of the quintessential psychedelic Prog band Gong since 1999 and a member of Soft Machine Legacy since 2006, composing for and touring internationally with both bands.
In addition to working with his own groups, Theo has also performed and/or recorded with David Sylvian, Bill Nelson, Robert Fripp, Harold Budd, Porcupine Tree, Mick Karn, Roger Eno, Palle Mikkelborg, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen, Jah Wobble, the Tangent, John Foxx, Francis Dunnery, Gong, Anja Garbarek, John Etheridge, Bill Bruford, Lol Coxhill, Tony Coe and No Man In 2011, Theo was extensively featured on Steven Wilson’s Grammy nominated “Grace for Drowning” album and the subsequent, recently completed world tour that accompanied the recording. He also features on the limited edition live album and forthcoming DVD drawn from the tour.
‘Discretion’ is the brand new album by pioneering guitar legend Robert Fripp and flautist/saxophonist Theo Travis made available for Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound in stunning 24 bit high quality digital format.
The music follows on from the duo’s previous album releases and combines almost telepathic interplay with a deep understanding of musical texture and space, the building of long slow melodies, and the creation of slowly shifting harmonic soundscapes.
‘Discretion’ is drawn from a number of high-resolution multi-channel recordings made at a series of European concerts in 2010. Minimal studio overdubs were added prior to mixing.
Over the six pieces, the mood is largely calm and beautiful, but there are surprises however. In Rotary Symmetrical Travis weaves lines on his wah-wah saxophone – an unusual and haunting sound - whilst Fripp plays with his expected authority but with an almost ominous sense of space. The track builds to a gargantuan climax as Fripp plays his overdriven guitar in a powerful almost Crimson like ending. The track Refract also changes the mood as unsettling harmonies ensure that the music remains challenging and the atmospheres vary significantly.
King Crimson fans will also not be disappointed with presence of the melodic theme The Power to Believe from the album of the same name. This opens and closes this album with a very atmospheric version of the tune played on soprano saxophone over moody guitar soundscapes beginning and ending the album in a similar and satisfying way. In addition to this recording, the duo has issued two CD albums on the Panegyric label: “Thread” (2008) and “Live at Coventry Cathedral” (2010) and toured Italy, Spain and the UK. A further recording, “Follow”, will be issued as a CD/DVD-A in autumn 2012. This set features new recordings in stereo (CD), with high resolution stereo, 5.1 MLP lossless Surround Sound and performance video footage (DVD-A)
By Sid Smith
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